Hanes Walton, Jr. attended and majored in political science at Morehouse College in 1963. He received an MA at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) and was the first PhD in government at Howard University in 1967. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha and received several other academic awards and was a life member of APSA.
He was initially employed at Savannah State College, later at Atlanta University and then at University of Michigan. And while at State and Michigan, he researched and published in the areas of race and politics, African politics, regulatory politics, political parties, elections, and political theory.
Out of his research, writing, and publications are books on black politics, Invisible Politics: Black Political Behavior (1985), Political Parties in American Society (2000), Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr (1971), When the Marching Stopped: The Politics of Civil Rights Regulatory Agencies (1988), Presidential Elections, 1789-2008 (2009), and the two volume work, The African American Electorate: A Statistical History (2012).